Playing college lacrosse is an aspiration for many young student-athletes. Playing college lacrosse allows an athlete to further his playing and educational careers, while continuing to open additional doors of opportunity for their future.
To play lacrosse at the college level, an athlete must display the ability to succeed on the field, in the classroom and show a coach that he will contribute in a positive way to the environment and culture within a college team.
As they prepared for the 2011 season, BMS Insider checked-in with former Burnaby Mountain Selects players to reflect back on their journey and talk about some of the experiences that they went through to fulfill their dream of playing lacrosse at the collegiate level...
Name: James Delaney (BMS '09)
Hometown: Port Coquitlam, BC
High School: St. Thomas More Collegiate
College: Seton Hill University
Location: Greensburg, Pennsylvania
League: NCAA Div. II
How did you decide where to go to school?
Deciding where to go to school was one of the biggest decisions on my life. After playing in a fall tournament and having game film circulating in college coaches offices many emails and letters of interest came in from Division 1, 2 and 3 schools. After my visits to my top three school choices I got a great feeling of where I would fit in both on and off the field. I did not decide where to go on the biggest offer but what got me to commit was the best overall package of school and lacrosse.
What has the transition been like from High School to University?
The biggest transition for me was going from top dog back in high school to the lowest on the totem pole with much to prove and learn. The hardest thing for me being one of two Canadians on my team my freshman season was playing with Americans. The Canadian field game is much different than the American one and it took me weeks to figure out how to translate my game into theirs.
Above: Left - Delaney with BMS Co-Head Coaches Jeff Cathrea and Brent Hoskins recieving the 2008 Fall Senior Elite - Offensive MVP Award at the Maple Leaf Awards Dinner. Right - Delaney with BMS teammate Keegan Bal after Seton Hill faced Lake Erie in NCAA Div. II competition during the 2010 season.
What do you like about your school academically?
Part of the reason I choose to go to Seton Hill University was for the academic experience. I could not see myself at a huge school with 400+ students per class. The class sizes here are very similar to my high school which made the transition process a lot easier for me academically. My average class features around 26 students.
What do you like about playing lacrosse at your school?
Leaving home to play lacrosse so far away from home was big decision which left me with some doubts on how life would be so far away from home. Almost instantly as I walked on campus I had older guys on the team take me in and embraced me. Our team philosophy is that we are a “Family?and we say that as our cheer every day. My favourite part of playing lacrosse is that I got 40 new best friends that I go out with everyday to battle and practice with.
What’s in your lacrosse bag?
Our team does a great job with giving us discounted and free gear. This season we got a new deal with Brine so we got pretty nice new stuff. Right now I am rocking a Clutch X6 with a Swizzle shaft. We got brand new Red Pro 7's with custom stickers which look awesome. For gloves were using custom Thrillers this season and just plain Brine arm pads. We'll be wearing some nice Warrior kicks as well.
What valuable lessons did you learn from the recruiting process?
The main thing I learned was to be on top of everything. After tournaments you are getting letters and calls from multiple coaches and there were even times I had gotten two different schools confused. Keep a folder separate to keep track of all the schools and actions you are making.
What role did your family have in helping you get to where you are now?
My Dad and Mom are my biggest supporters and really wanted to help me achieve my goal of playing lacrosse in the NCAA. My brother also helped tones by being my partner in the back yard growing up always being a stick to pass to or a goalie to shoot on. Now both of us, thanks to our parents, are playing NCAA lacrosse in the same division and we'll be suiting up against each other for three years.
Favourite on-field memory from being part of the Burnaby Mountain Selects program?
Playing three seasons with the Selects left me with many on field memories that I will keep forever. But, the moment that takes the cake is my first season when we played a team out of the Maryland Prep School system called the "Baltimore Crabs." Every player on this team ends up going division 1. We ended up beating them in the Denver Team Camp 7-5 and I know our whole team felt amazing and accomplished after that win.
Favourite off-field memory from your travels with the Burnaby Mountain Selects?
Going to Florida in January was amazing. Going to a huge amusement park at Busch Gardens and hitting up the white sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean was amazing considering we left Vancouver when it was cold and snowing.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
A quote my dad told me when I first started playing sports, "Quitters never win, and winners never quit."
What coaching tips have had the biggest impact on your game?
Playing lacrosse for as many years as I have and having as many coaches on the different teams I played for both box and field it is really hard to point out one moment and tip that influenced my game. I feel like I have taken input and thoughts from all my coaches and that has allowed me to grow into the player I am today.
What advice would you give younger BMS players aspiring to play at the collegiate level?
You really have to want to go to school in the NCAA. If that is your goal, you must work hard In the classroom first. Second you need to work hard at lacrosse to become the best you can to advertise yourself for college coaches. And finally, you have to take the moment you have for the time you are playing in front of college scouts and do your absolute best. All day coaches are watching you and want to see if that first good game can be followed by another great game. Also, get game film out to coaches in your Grade 11 year. Show them that you are worth coming to see at these recruiting tournaments. Lacrosse is growing so fast and with so many more players now you have to set yourself apart from the next player. Best of luck and keep representing Canadian lacrosse well.